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revolutionary Romance

Revolution
REBELLION / Through this essay we are taken on an exciting journey through revolutions all over the world. The book refers, for example, to the 2010 uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Libya, Yemen and Bahrain.




(THIS ARTICLE IS MACHINE TRANSLATED by Google from Norwegian)

What is one revolution, and what it means to be revolutionary Today? These became surprisingly relevant issues after the fierce attack by the citizen press on the newly elected leadership in Red Youth recently, where one of the main appeals was that they are revolutionary.

So can the publication of the French historian Ludivine Bantigny's philosophical essay Revolution go straight into an ongoing debate on the Norwegian left. It seems that, because of the French Revolution, she has a much closer relationship with the term 'revolution' than is common in this country. The revolution speaks in the text, as a subject. On the contrary, it is shown in an excellent way how statements which claim that there are no alternatives to the current organization of the world, originate "from those who are perfectly satisfied with the world as it is". There are also some excellent passages where she writes about how the revolutionary violence, which cannot be swept under the carpet, is always highlighted, while the pre- and counter-revolutionary violence is suppressed. Reference is made, among other things, to the use of torture and execution methods in the French monarchy and the terror of the counter-revolutionaries in Haiti.

The feeling of freedom

No clear definition of revolution is given, which the personified 'revolution' in the essay will probably energetically avoid. In one place it is indicated that it is "the intervention of the masses in history", in another that it is about "overthrowing the rulers and putting an end to their rule". It is also stated, rightly, that capitalismn has not always existed, and once will cease to exist. The revolutionary feeling of frihet, that the world can be changed, and that the low can be equaled with the high, is a review theme that is given great importance. These are feelings I can identify with, even long for, but it also means that at times I experience the text as a little too abstract.

I think it is a weakness that there is no clear distinction between the form and content of the revolution. The Norwegian Marxist Hans I. Kleven defined the content of the revolution as such in the pamphlet The concept of revolution: "The political and economic upheaval from a (historically inferior) social system to a new (superior) social system. And that one main class takes over power from another or several classes." According to Kleven, the revolution itself can take many forms, either short-lived or (relatively) long-lasting, either peaceful or violent. I think it would have been useful if Bantigny had come up with some similar definitions.

revolutions

Through the essay, we are taken on an exciting journey through revolutions all over the world. For example, there is a very interesting, but far too brief, discussion of the workers' uprising in Paris in 1848, where the workers erected barricades against a popularly elected government in protest against the closure of state factories. The point is, among other things, that at the time it was not obvious that democracyone should be representative; many wanted a more direct, social and participatory democracy.

Eight-hour day and paid holiday, abolition of discrimination between workers of different nationalities, right to divorce and abortion, repeal of the law against homosexuality...

As for it Russiane revolution, it refers to, among other things, the introduction of the eight-hour day and paid holidays, the abolition of discrimination between workers of different nationalities, the right to divorce and abortion, the repeal of the law against homosexuality – and much more! During and after the civil war and the foreign intervention, however, the position of the workers' councils weakened, and as the author writes: "War and democracy are antinomies." The liberating power of the revolution is weakened by both external and internal authoritarian forces. The author is very concerned with the meaning of democracy – and direct popular involvement in turning passive spectators into participating subjects.

Better than the existing one?

Pink Luxembourg is quoted as saying that we cannot forsake a single defeat, because from them we draw strength and clarity, and that is very well said, but what concrete lessons can we draw? The book refers, for example, to the 2010 uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Libya, Yemen and Bahrain, but can the uprising in any of these cases be said to have resulted in something better than the existing one? Again I sat and thought about Kleven's distinction between the form of the revolution and its content, and the Ukrainian sociologist Volodymyr Ishchenko's articles on how the many revolutions in post-Soviet states have only ended up recycling old elites and governance systems. How to prevent the revolution from being crushed, corrupted or unable to deliver a new system better than the one it rebelled against?

How to prevent the revolution from being crushed, corrupted or unable to deliver a new system better than the one it rebelled against?

Maybe it's the essay genre that I haven't quite grasped, but my main impression after finishing reading is that the author has raised many interesting questions without providing particularly concrete and detailed answers.

The book is, as far as I can judge, excellently translated by , ders Fjeld#. In addition, Mona has Renate , an interesting afterword has been written about the revolution at Eidsvoll in 1814 and the Thranite movement's struggle for democracy.

Aslak Storaker
Aslak Storaker
Storaker is a regular writer in Ny Tid, and a member of Rødt's international committee.

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